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Thread: The dormant potential of damaged nerve cells

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    The dormant potential of damaged nerve cells

    The dormant potential of damaged nerve cells
    July 13th, 2009

    ( -- Damaged nerve cells in a finger will regrow, but those in the spinal cord do not. Why the difference? Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology working with an international team of researchers can now explain two important details. Nerve cells in the spinal cord still have the ability to grow even many weeks after an injury. However, the regeneration is prevented by scar tissue created after the injury occurs. Now that they have this knowledge, scientists can search for ways to reduce the scar tissue and activate the relevant growth mechanisms. (Current Biology, June 2009) A small cut in a finger hurts, but it is not particularly serious. Within a few days, the wound will have healed and the body will have repaired the damaged skin cells, muscle fibres, blood vessels and the severed nerve cells. But why do these amazing powers of self-healing fail when the damage is to the central nervous system (CNS), that is the brain or the spinal cord?

    Growth or standstill

    How well a damaged nerve cell heals depends on where it is in the body: While nerve cells in the central nervous system hardly ever recover from injury, nerves outside of the CNS, that is those in the peripheral nervous system, usually regenerate after a short time. Scientists have been trying for years to explain this difference. This knowledge could create a foundation on which to develop new methods for treating spinal cord injuries. It has now become clear that there are a whole number of substances in the central nervous system which prevent the nerve cells regrowing. These substances do not occur in the peripheral nervous system, so there is nothing to stop regeneration there.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Leo's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Yankton, South Dakota

    pubmed could have told them this

    2010 SCINet Clinical Trial Support Squad Member

    "You kids and your cures, why back when I was injured they gave us a wheelchair and that's the way it was and we liked it!" Grumpy Old Man

    .."i used to be able to goof around so much because i knew Superman had my back. now all i've got is his example -- and that's gonna have to be enough."

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